Khaleel Ahmed has had a decent start to his tour of Australia. The left-arm pacer has troubled the Australian batsmen with his left-arm pace and bounce but has been guilty of giving away one expensive over in the two games in Brisbane and Melbourne. In the rain-affected game at the MCG, the youngster got the wickets of Chris Lynn and D’Arcy Short but ended up conceding 19 runs in the 18th over. Khaleel has admitted that not having too many practice games and suddenly playing Twenty20 Internationals in conditions which are different from the sub-continent poses a major challenge.
“When you come to Australia, there weren't many practice sessions and it isn't easy to figure out which line/length is the best option here. If you don't have ample practice sessions and then suddenly play T20 matches where batsmen own the game, it is a bit difficult. And you cannot even get relaxed against a team like Australia because they fight until the end as their lower order showed today,” Khaleel said in the post-match press conference.
The Indian bowlers put up an improved performance than the one in Brisbane, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah all chipping in at vital times. Even Krunal Pandya, who had a poor game in Brisbane, choked the Australian batsmen for runs while Kuldeep Yadav continued to torment them. Khaleel said he is learning from Bhuvneshwar the art of bowling with the additional responsibility of being the team’s strike bowler.
“Someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he is a strike bowler at the moment and leads the team with responsibility that he needs to take wickets. He bowls to a particular line and length, and this is something you get to learn from him - how to bowl with so much responsibility as he bowls in all formats,” Bhuvneshwar said.
Khaleel admitted that the washout was disappointing and the result meant India could not win the series. However, Virat Kohli’s side, who have been unbeaten in a Twenty20 bilateral series since February 2017, will be aiming to get back on level terms in the final game in Sydney. “Dressing room spirits are high because we know we have played well in both games and can do the same in the last game as well. So, in the third game we aim to play even better and try to draw the series on Sunday,” Khaleel said.